Children are born with technology at their fingertips. They learn how to use computers, smartphones, and tablets at a very early age, preparing them for life in the modern world. This constant access to the internet comes with consequences though. Children may be exposed to inappropriate content or improper influences just by browsing online.
In this guide from Perspectives Counseling Centers, we’ll help you monitor your child’s online activity so you can ensure his or her safety.
Why It’s Important to Be Informed
The internet seems harmless at first glance, but even seemingly innocent platforms have dangerous information on them. For instance, there are many inappropriate YouTube videos that target children, even though they contain sexual and violent graphics. The titles and thumbnails look like kid-friendly content, but a closer look at the videos shows images you may not want your children to see.
Child predators often use social media platforms to talk to children. Websites that start out as innocent may have ads that lead children down a dangerous rabbit hole. Simply put, the internet gives your child access to a world of information he or she may not be old enough for. Parents have to take action to limit and control that access.
Use Parental Controls Where Applicable
One of the easiest ways to block children from inappropriate content is to use parental controls. You can use parental control apps and web browser extensions, or you could set parental controls within a website. For instance, Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube have kids accounts that only feature child-friendly content. If your child is allowed to visit these websites, you can make sure he or she only navigates that section of the site. The types of parental controls you use will depend on the device your child uses and how he or she accesses the web.
Talk to Your Child about the Internet
Children must be taught to use the internet properly, just like they must be taught to read or put on clothes. If your child needs help researching for school or using the computer in some manner, do what you can to assist him or her. It is better for you to teach your child than for him or her to start looking around alone.
When you feel that your child is old enough, talk to him or her about predators and other dangers on the internet. This is just like preparing your child for peer pressure or bullying at school. You hope your child never faces those issues, but if so, it’s best to be informed.